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By Zach Butler, Meteorologist Posted 1 month ago January 14, 2024

Insider's Guide to Skiing Mt. Bachelor, Oregon

The following guide was sponsored in partnership with Mt. Bachelor.


Mt. Bachelor is not your average big mountain resort. Located on a dormant volcano, Mt. Bachelor will not be erupting anytime soon. The only thing that will erupt though is your opinion of what skiing and riding can be with endless and diverse terrain for a unique big mountain experience.

Mt. Bachelor is known for its long-lasting season and offers the most open terrain in North America during the spring season. All 4,323 acres of terrain are scheduled to remain open every day the weather permits through mid-April. Then in May, more than 1,500 acres will remain open daily through Memorial Day Weekend.

Located 30 minutes from Bend, Oregon, Mt. Bachelor has great accessibility and a short commute. Bend has all of your ski town necessities and favorites with the Oregon sales tax-free bonus! There are plenty of hole-in-the-wall breweries and family dining options for both breakfast and dinner, making it a great town to start the ski day slow or hang out late at night. Getting to Bend is relatively easy too if you fly into Redmond, Oregon (20 minutes from Bend), which has daily nonstop flights from major Western US cities.

Mt. Bachelor Overview

Mt. Bachelor offers 4,323 acres of skiable terrain, accessed by 12 lifts and 101 trails. The mountain stretches from a base elevation of 5,700 feet to a summit elevation of 9,065 feet. A newly added feature of Mt. Bachelor for the 2023-2024 ski season is the Skyliner Express high-speed 6-pack chairlift! This lift is sure to fit all of your friends and family so you can get up the mountain quickly.

The Nordic skiing scene at Mt. Bachelor is another underrated aspect of this resort. There are 56 km of groomed trails for classic and skate skiing, 10 km of signed and packed snowshoe trails, a full rental service, a variety of XC ski lessons, and multi-week clinic opportunities. The Nordic Center offers something for everyone! Like downhill skiing, Mt. Bachelor has the nation’s longest-groomed Nordic season.

Our friends at Zrankings list Mt. Bachelor's True Annual Snowfall at 383 inches. Out of the 101 trails, approximately 47% of the mountain is considered difficult terrain, 33% intermediate terrain, and 20% easy terrain.

Terrain circles around the mountain and allows for a wide range of aspects to take advantage of the best snow and sunlight conditions. Approximately 55% of the mountain features a north-facing aspect, 20% west-facing, 20% east-facing, and 5% south-facing.

The lift operating hours run from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm (weather and lift depending) from December 2, 2023 - April 23, 2024. The spring hours shift from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (weather and lift depending) April 24 - May 28, 2024.

Getting to Mt. Bachelor

Getting to Mt. Bachelor is relatively easy if you fly into Redmond, Oregon which is only 20 minutes away from Bend. This easy accessibility is what many big mountain resorts in the West lack, adding another reason why you need to visit Mt. Bachelor.

Direct flights are available from many Western US cities. There are nonstop flights from Denver, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Seattle, San Francisco, Phoenix, Burbank, Reno, and San Diego via American Airlines, United, Delta Airlines, Alaska, Avelo, and Aha!

Flights: Getting to Mt. Bachelor

If you decide to fly into Portland or Eugene, it can take a little longer to get to Mt. Bachelor than many ski destinations, but that's what makes the large mountain and long season so worth it! It's best to stay several days so you can discover all of the terrain.

It's about 3.5 hours from Portland and 3 hours from Eugene, but once you arrive and stay in Bend or nearby areas, it is only a 30-minute drive to Mt. Bachelor. On the way to Mt. Bachelor from Portland or Eugene, you drive through the Cascades where you can stop for the first runs at several other ski resorts, or see the many scenic waterfalls Oregon has to offer.

Driving Directions: Mt. Bachelor

Mt. Bachelor Lift Tickets

The resort offers flexible single-day tickets and an unlimited multi-resort option via the Ikon Pass. There are a lot of customizations on passes offered such as a mid-week pass, a custom 4-day pass, the Fast Tracks pass because there are no friends on a powder day, and a whole year pass if you want to take advantage of mountain biking.

There is also a Nordic pass if you want to use the 56 km of groomed cross-country skiing trails around Mt. Bachelor.

Lift Tickets: Mt. Bachelor

Mt. Bachelor Snow & Weather

Located on the eastern edge of the Cascades, Mt. Bachelor receives large atmospheric rivers (ARs) without the high amounts of moisture that make some of the Cascades infamous for the dense snowpack known as "Cascade Cement or Concrete". Mt. Bachelor's high elevation with a base of 5,700 feet and a summit of 9,065 feet allows snow ratios to be light with the added benefit of moisture drying out as it travels over the Cascades.

While not impressive elevation differences compared to other mountains in the Western US, these elevations in Oregon matter and bring lighter, less dense snow to Mt. Bachelor. Additionally, the mid-mountain elevation of ~7,480 feet means nearly every winter storm, no matter how warm the storm is, will give the uppermost of the resort snow.

Mt. Bachelor can see storms move in from many directions toward the west. Not every storm is an AR, but ARs pack the most punch and bring the heaviest snow. 

Storms that approach from the west and especially the southwest favor the heaviest snow at Mt. Bachelor due to its prominence. As winds transport moist air from those directions across the Pacific Ocean, Mt. Bachelor is the tallest peak they first encounter. This causes the clouds and storms to dump heavy snow as they encounter the tall mountain and orographic lift plays a significant role.

Storms that move in from the northwest and north encounter the nearby peaks, the Sisters, which can suck up some of the moisture and bring Mt. Bachelor less snow. Storms that move up from the south encounter other large Cascades peaks that suck up some moisture as well.

The good news is that a majority of storms approach from the west and southwest, which favor Mt. Bachelor and allow heavy snow to fall.

Skiing Mt. Bachelor

Now let's get into the good stuff, skiing and snowboarding!

The nice thing about Mt. Bachelor is that there are two main parking lots to choose from. You have the Sunrise Lodge parking lot which will be the place you want to park if you want to get to the summit of Bachelor right away and take advantage of winds that are usually calmer in the morning.

From the Sunrise lift, take an easy skier's left to the Summit lift and get to the top of Mt. Bachelor where you can get the first taste of amazing views and runs on the volcano. The Summit lift can often close due to high winds, which are frequent above the treeline at the mountain. Winds tend to be weaker in the morning so if you want to get to the summit, try to get there as soon as possible or watch the forecast carefully as to when winds could increase. 

If you time it right, the upper terrain of the mountain can give you endless lines of powder with easy access to almost anywhere on the mountain to try something new or meet friends somewhere else. It will truly feel like you are on top of the world.

If you are a beginner at Mt. Bachelor you will also want to go to the Sunrise parking lot because of the bunny slopes and some of Bachelor's easier terrain via the Sunrise, Alpenglow, and Rainbow lifts.

The second parking lot, Mountain Gateway, is where I usually go if I'm skiing Bachelor because it usually has more space and is a little less hectic than the Sunrise parking lot. This is also the parking lot you will want to go to if you are Nordic skiing or camping in the vehicle at night.

The Mountain Gateway parking lot allows you to get quick access to the Pine Marten lift and then to the Northwest lift and this side of the mountain, which usually has better skiing due to less sun and weaker winds. 

In the middle of the mountain, there is the brand new Skyliner Express high-speed 6-pack chairlift! This new lift can bring 6 people in one chair and protect you from inclement weather. If the lift lines are long across the mountain, try the new Skyliner which is sure to move quickly.

Count em! Check out the new Skyliner Express below with 6 people on the lift.

Tree skiing at Mt. Bachelor allows you to test your skills while finding never-ending powder pockets even a week or more after fresh snow. The large trees around the mountain shelter the wind and allow snow to pile up quickly and stay there. There is always a powder stash somewhere to be found!

Stay weary of tree skiing alone because tree wells can be a hazard after big storms.

Mt. Bachelor is known for its views and long-lasting ski season through May! Due to the high elevation compared to nearby areas and the season average snowfall of 383 inches. Mt. Bachelor's ski season allows you and the family to take your ski-cation for spring break or even an early summer break.

The AR storm track becomes less active starting in April, bringing sunny spring "corn" skiing throughout the volcano. While less snow falls on the mountain after March, the clear skies allow for never-ending majestic views of the Sisters and other Cascade peaks.

Although storms are less frequent after March, a surprise powder day through May is still in the card deck.

Believe it or not, the picture below is from late May, with lots of terrain open and plenty of snow on the slopes through the closing weekend and the annual pond skim.

Mt. Bachelor Après and Lodging

This might be my favorite part of skiing because no ski day is complete without après-ski, which translates into after-ski activities. There are several options for this at Mt. Bachelor, in Bend, or nearby towns of Sisters or Black Butte Ranch. 

You can finish the day at the Après at the Clearing Rock Bar in the West Village on weekend afternoons throughout the season. There are many other options on the mountain for quick dining options to hold you over until Bend. Make sure to check out the Pine Marten Lodge located mid-mountain during your ski day.

I usually end up tailgating at my car in the Mountain Gateway parking lot where others enjoy the space whether they are spending the night in an RV or Van, or like myself, and have to drive a couple of hours to the Willamette Valley.

In Bend, there are no shortages of affordable lodging and dining options. The Deschutes Brewery is a must-stop with many other growing breweries where everyone has a favorite. Get out and find yours! You can eat at many breweries or hit up the never-ending restaurants. An Oregon staple is McMenamins Pub, which has great food and a great ambiance.

I am a big fan of the nearby town of Sisters, Oregon which is a little less crowded than Bend but does mean a longer commute to the Bachelor if you stay here. Don't miss the bakery there or the restaurant, Lively Up Yourself, which is only open a few days a week for a good reason.

If you are bringing the whole family or friend group, further away is the Black Butte Ranch which is a fun and solitary place to stay with large houses for rent with many resort amenities.

The big takeaway with Bachelor, Bend, and nearby après and lodging is that you cannot go wrong. I have yet to be disappointed with a place that I have stayed, eaten, or drank at.

Mt. Bachelor 2023-24 Events

There are a ton of events occurring at Mt. Bachelor in 2024 that you won't want to miss. From community events on the mountain or special winter passholder events at Deschutes Brewery, there are events for everyone this winter.

The event I am most looking forward to is the annual return of RendezVan Festival in May 2024. RendezVan Festival is a one-of-a-kind event that celebrates the amazing community of RVers, campers, and van-lifers. Whether you have a van, RV, or a Subaru outback, anyone can come and enjoy live music, soft spring laps, and sunshine. Families, skiers, riders, and all travelers are welcome — even the dogs are invited!

Mt. Bachelor will announce event details in the coming months so stay tuned here.

Events: Mt. Bachelor Event Calendar

Mt. Bachelor Uphill Policy

The rise of uphill (also known as skinning or touring) has brought a new aspect to the ways that we can explore and have fun on the mountain. It is great exercise and in-resort uphill travel offers a safe environment on groomed terrain.

For the 2023-24 season, you must sign up for a FREE pass, which will give you an armband that you must wear during and after operating hours. Otherwise, it is just a couple of signatures on safety forms and you are good to go!

Learn More: Uphill Access Policy

Final Thoughts

No matter if you are a family, a group of friends, or solo, Mt. Bachelor is the mountain to gain a new perspective on skiing in the Pacific Northwest with no shortage of terrain for anyone.

The unique perspective of skiing on a volcano with the longest-lasting ski season in North America makes Mt. Bachelor a must-stop on the Ikon pass or whether you want to take advantage of the many events or ticket deals they have. Mt. Bachelor and Bend, Oregon check all of the boxes for your ski vacation.

Visit MtBachelor.com for all lodging, event, and other ski-related information.

OpenSnow Resources

Snow Forecast & Report: Mt. Bachelor

Daily Snow Forecast: Oregon

Download: OpenSnow App

Zach Butler


This guide was sponsored in partnership with Mt. Bachelor.

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About The Author

Zach Butler

Meteorologist

Zach Butler is currently a PhD student in Water Resources Science at Oregon State University. He just finished his master's in Applied Meteorology at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. Originally from Maryland, he has grown up hiking and skiing up and down the East Coast. When not doing coursework, he enjoys cooking and exploring the pacific northwest on his bike.

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